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Suprised by the Wii Nintendo Wii

Suprised by the Wii

Further reading:
Jamie Collins
solitary play

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In our journey from board game geeks to electronic entertainment, we had ruled out the DS and weren't sure what to do next. It took an unexpected collision with a Wii on holiday to provide the answer.

In Christmases past, the kids had received lots of small presents, often practical ones like clothing. Sure, there would be a main present too, possible a shared one, but it was never particularly extravagant.

This is in keeping with our general philosophy of not going to extremes at Christmas. One of the highlights of Christmas in our house is the ceremony of the decoration of the gingerbread house - which far, far exceeds the joy of eating it.

This is closely followed by decorating the tree and the post-Christmas Dinner walk. I think even the kids, if they thought about it, would admit that presents aren't a main feature of Christmas and, on the day itself, can actually get to be a bit of a chore to get through.

However, we had started to notice a look of disappointment on the face our eldest (7) when the last of the presents had been opened. Worse still was seeing her was trying to cover up her disappointment. We decided that next year we would keep back some of the budget back to buy a shared present that had the wow factor. But what to get that would impress two girls aged five and eight?

We first experienced the whole Wii concept on a house swap in Wales. Having gone off camping we've found house swaps mean we can fit in three or four holidays a year. We've tended to swap with families with children so our kids get to play with a whole set of new toys. If the house has a piano, so much the better - not that any of us can actually play but we do have fun.

When we realised our last swap house had a Wii we were all a bit afraid of it I think. It took several days before curiosity got the better of us. Our experience was practically zero. I'd seen the adverts on TV, years ago now, and I'd seen a four-player game of tennis, which didn't strike me as involving much in the way of skill.

We settled on Wii-Sports bowling as the game that would most likely appeal to all of us. I regret we didn't realise that we should be playing with our own Mii's so missed the opportunity to create our likenesses in avatar form - but also for the fact we may have wrecked our kind host's statistics.

Needless to say, bowling was an immediate and overwhelming success and we played several games over the course of our holiday. However, we didn't really progress from there. The grownups tried a game of tennis but feared for the furniture too much to enjoy it. The kids tried out Guinness World Records, the only other game on offer, but couldn't really get the hang of it and soon lost interest. By the end of our holiday though the Wii had made a good impression.

After we had ruled out the idea of getting a Nintendo DS because of our reluctance to encourage solitary play, our thoughts now turned to idea of getting a Wii. It would live in the lounge, being the only room in the house that will ever have a TV and the space shared for play by the whole family.

After a little research online, it appeared that video game consoles were the 'in' thing that year, with the Wii being particularly popular due to it being significantly discounted for the first time. Also, the Wii-Sports Resort game, now bundled with the console, was getting great reviews. Finally, after securing a 20% discount via family member who works for supplier, we decided to take the plunge.

And that's how we became a Wii-owning family. The kids literally jumped up and down with joy when they opened it, which was a nice. But the absolute best moment was when our eldest said a special thanks to me for "making us a little bit more 'normal' now."

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Guest review by Jamie Collins

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Jamie Collins wrote this Board Gamer article under the watchful eye of Ed Stephens.

"In a world of ever advancing technology, where gaming is often synonymous with consoles, I'm here to take a different approach and look at board games."

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